Competence in mental health research

Bhargavi Davar

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2005.029


Conducting psychiatric studies from the perspective of the humanities and the social sciences is a new endeavour in the Indian context. For this reason the ethical quandaries that may be faced in this area are seldom discussed. A few medical institutions working in the mental health sector have some type of mandatory ethical screening. However, such instances are rare. In the absence of organised ethical forums, or sustained discussion on ethics, the mental health professions have no platform where such dilemmas can be tabled. (Among the mental health professions, I include psychiatry, clinical psychology, psychiatric and medical social work and the related social sciences.) The present case study is therefore an important contribution to the ethics of working with persons with psychosocial disabilities. Such disclosures should encourage the mental health community to bring the topic of psychiatric ethics into the public domain.

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